I neglected to write a “planning” post this week – whoops! I actually DID plan out our meals, too…though with only a couple of nights of cooking needed (we are headed to MIAMI! this weekend), I took a bit of the easy way out. We did a lot of recycling and reusing chez nous, and we’re still dining on leftovers. For example, this pasta salad, which I made to bring to a friend’s impromptu BBQ on Sunday evening (another reason to love spring: impromptu BBQs).
This “recipe” is an absolute go-to. I remember making it for the first time with my mom probably ten years ago, and it’s become a staple at the yearly beachside bonfire we host with a bunch of family friends. Of course, the first time she made this, my mom was just using up vegetables she had in her fridge – I don’t get my propensity to throw things together and call it dinner from nowhere, you see. There are, however, two secrets to elevating this from grocery store pasta salad to the kind of pasta salad to end all other pasta salads. See if you can spot them.
The World’s (well, in my humble opinion, anyway) Best Pasta Salad
- 1 box curly pasta – my favorite is Cavatappi
- 1/2 jar sundried tomatoes, in oil – coarsely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, sliced (orange adds a nice pop of color!)
- 1 can corn, drained, or ideally, 2-3 stalks of fresh corn, kernels cut off
- 1 small container cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- one bunch green onions, chopped
- handful of spinach
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- a goodly amount of Parmesan cheese
- fresh herbs: cilantro provides a gorgeous zing, but parsley and/or basil also good options
- a good squeeze of anchovy paste (*leave out if making a totally vegetarian version*)
- salt, pepper, crushed reds
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- Boil water for pasta; while you’re waiting, prepare/wash/chop all of your veggies, and place in a LARGE bowl, EXCEPT for your sundried tomatoes.
- Cook pasta according to directions. While the pasta is still warm, toss with the veggies – and then add your sundried tomatoes and a bit of the oil it comes in. Give it a thorough toss.
- Whisk together your dressing and add to your pasta. Finish off your salad with Parmesan and a generous dose of herbs. Serve warm or chilled – it won’t last long either way.
This one’s a go-to for good reason. I made an extra large batch on Sunday, taking most of it to the BBQ and leaving a bit behind for me and the Husband. By Monday evening, I had (very generously) left him two (full!) strands of Cavatappi. I am such a great partner, sometimes.
PS: You can obviously add olives to add brininess, and whatever else your little heart desires. I have and enforce a strict no-olive policy chez nous.